Justia Public Benefits Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Intellectual Property
Since enacting a program for black-lung benefits in 1969, known as the Black Lung Benefits Act,83 Stat. 742, Congress has repeatedly amended the claim-filing process, sometimes making it harder for miners and survivors to obtain benefits, sometimes making it easier. The most recent adjustment, part of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, reinstated a presumption that deceased workers who had worked for at least 15 years in underground coal mines and had developed a totally disabling respiratory or pulmonary impairment were presumed to be totally disabled by pneumoconiosis and to have died from it. The presumption is rebuttable. The Act also reinstated automatic benefits to any survivor of a miner who had been awarded benefits on a claim filed during his lifetime, 124 Stat. at 260. Groves, a miner for 29 years, filed a claim for benefits in 2006 and died four months later. An ALJ denied his widow benefits. The law changed while her appeal was pending. The Benefits Review Board concluded that the new law covered this claim. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. View "Vision Processing, LLC v. Groves" on Justia Law